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The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection: a Handbook

Hand specimen picture panel
Thin section picture panel


Appendix 1: Keywords and Definitions
Appendix 2: Physical Layout of Sherds Housed in the NRFRC


South Carlton Fabrics

South Carlton was a production centre for colourcoated and other specialist wares. Cream mortaria, ring-neck flagons, jugs, vessels with red painted decoration and colour-coated – particularly roughcast – beakers were produced. Both the colour-coated fabric and the white ware mortaria are included here, with mortaria judged to have been the most common product with the widest distribution.

General appearance/Hand specimen

Both the colour-coated and white ware fabrics are pale in colour and share a similar texture.

Thin section

The fabric of these variants is united by an isotropic clay matrix with common silt-sized inclusions. The groundmass is micaceous, although not readily visible in all samples, and muscovite predominates. Opaques (<0.1mm) are regularly present, while the larger inclusions vary between different samples and are described below.


Production at South Carlton is known from two to three kilns (Darling 1977, 34; Webster 1944).


Lincoln City and County Museum


Lincoln City and County Museum


Darling, M J, 1977a Excursus on the Swanpool/Rookery Lane kiln complex at Lincoln, in A group of late Roman pottery from Lincoln, CBA for Lincoln Archaeol Trust Monogr Ser XVI–1, 32–7

Hartley, K F, & Richards, E E, 1965 Spectrographic analysis of some Romano-British mortaria, Bull Institute Archaeol 5, 25–43

Webster, G, 1944 A Roman pottery at South Carlton, Lincolnshire, Antiq J 24, 129–43

South Carlton Colour-coated ware (SOC CC)

Single sample

General appearance

Generally this fabric ranges from pure white, through cream to browns and pale red-browns (5YR 7/6–7/8, 7.5YR 7/6), with cream shades the most common. The colour coat is usually red-brown (2.5YR 5/6–4/6) or khaki (10YR 5/4–4/4), the latter of which is most common at the kiln site (M Darling, pers comm). Our sample is white (10YR 8/1) with patchy orange-brown (2.5YR 5/4) slipped surfaces. It is hard with a smooth fracture and smooth surfaces, which are wiped.

Hand specimen

Our sample has a fine silty matrix, containing generally well-sorted common quartz (0.1-0.3mm), sparse red and red-brown iron-rich grains to 0.3mm, and fine silver mica. The outer surface is roughcast with ill-sorted particles of clay ranging between 0.5–3.5mm, but normally 0.5–1.0mm.

Thin section

This sample contains rare larger inclusions of both monocrystalline and polycrystalline quartz to c 1.0mm. Larger quartz- and iron-rich clay pellets and quartz-free clay pellets are also present (<1.5mm).

Plate 132: Fresh sherd break of SOC CC (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 132: Fresh sherd break of SOC CC (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 132.1: Photomicrograph of SOC CC (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 132.1: Photomicrograph of SOC CC (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)